Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the two gorilla trekking activities carried out in Uganda since there are two places only in Uganda where gorilla trekking is done in the country.
Mgahinga national park is one of the least places in Africa blessed to be a home to the highly endangered mountain gorilla, it is so gifted to be offering mountain gorilla trekking which of an interest to millions of tourists who flood Uganda to participate in the activity which involves getting into contact with the huge fur covered primates. Mgahinga forest national park is found in the south west region of Uganda is one of the smallest park in Uganda located at high altitude with height range off 2,227m and 4,127m, it was created in 1991 purposely to protect the ecological system it harbors covering the area of 33.9 km2.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda only takes place in two national parks that is Bwindi impenetrable national park and mgahinga gorilla national park. Mgahinga national park is part of the great Virunga conservation area it shares with Virunga national park of democratic republic of Congo and volcanoes national park of Rwanda, the park comprises of three volcanoes of Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo making most of the park’s landscape rugged with the volcanoes which give Mgahinga national Park a beautiful view and more attractive as the cones of the extinct volcanoes are in the view. Mgahinga national park is the only place in Uganda where you will find mountain gorillas and golden monkeys co-existing peacefully, it experiences an average temperature of 20°C for two rainy seasons in the months of February to May and September to December. Mgahinga gorilla national park is 15 kilometers south of Kisoro town and approximately 55 kilometers from west of Kabale which is the largest city and rarely experience dry season but less rainfall is received June, July which is the best time to go gorilla trekking in this park.
Mountain gorilla trekking is a breathtaking experience which involves tracking down the endangered mountain gorillas in their nature habitant in the dense forest (mountain gorillas are first habituated so to make them comfortable with human presence before they are declared ready for trekking). Mountain gorillas are fur covered primates with approximately 1004 individuals left in Africa in only four parks of mgahinga national park, Bwindi impenetrable national park, Virunga national park, and volcanoes national park. Mountain gorillas are shy calm animals but can become dangerous if threatened in the way of defending themselves they can cause real damage to tourists. Mountain gorillas are part of the eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei). Mountain gorillas are herbivores animals who feed on leaves, stems, shoots, roots, flowers, and fruits, mountain gorillas are smaller than eastern lowland gorilla and diurnal animals most active between 6 am to 6 p. These highly endangered animals have longer and thinker fur all over their body which enables them to live in the cold weather on higher altitudes of the mountains, they individually have unique nose prints for easy identification.
Mountain gorillas live in groups or families which are headed by a silverback alpha, members include adult males (silverback they have shorter hair on their backs than most of the body), adult females, infants and juveniles. Male adult mountain gorillas weigh 195 kg with the height of 168 cm and female adults weigh 100 kg with the height of 140 cm, mountain gorillas have a black ring around their iris and body crests on very top and back of their skulls but in males, they are more pronounced than in females. In mgahinga gorilla national park there is only one habituated gorilla family in the names of Nyakagezi gorilla family, this family used to occasionally migrate to Congo’s Virunga national park and Rwanda’s volcano national park. Mgahinga gorilla national park’s Nyakagezi gorilla family is led by a dominant silverback mark who took over leadership from his father Bugingo the oldest silverback who is believed to be more than 54 years old. The group is composed of 9 members with 4 silverbacks that make the alpha leader, Bugingo the former leader, Mathew, and mafia, 2 adult females, 2 infants and one juvenile (baby Rukundo).
Nyakagezi gorilla family is the most interesting gorilla family with a former silverback alive easiest gorilla group to be tracked in Uganda because of the permanent settlement on the slopes of Muhabura, Sabyinyo, and Gahinga. Trekking this gorilla group is so amazing and breathtaking as you come into contact with fantastic scenery with a view of volcanic cones and the vegetation covering the full national park includes bamboo trees. To participate in mountain gorilla trekking in mgahinga gorilla national park you need to be in possession of a gorilla trekking permit which goes for US$ 600 and can be bought from Uganda wild authority offices in Ntebeko. Permits in this park are easy to get and 8 permits are sold on a daily basis:
There are rules to be followed while gorilla trekking in mgahinga national park these include
- Keep a distance of 8 meters from the gorillas
- Minimize your noise while in the presence of mountain gorillas
- Do not smoke, drink or eat while in the park
- Do not litter rubbish in the park
- Always move in a group
- Taking pictures is allowed but take pictures with flashlight off
- Do not mimic gorilla actions
- Control your movements while in the park
- Only one hour can be allowed for tourists to be with the gorillas
- Tourists below the age of 155 are not allowed to participate in the trekking
- Ill tourists are not allowed to participate in the gorilla trekking
There are gorilla trekking essentials are you must carry with you while going for trekking
- Comfortable strong hiking shoes
- Packed lunch and water
- A camera with reserve batteries
- Raring proof jacket and clothes
- Long-sleeved shirts and trousers
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- Hiking stick
- A porter to help you carry your bag
Mgahinga national park is 510 kilometers from Kampala the capital city of Uganda and can be accessed using Kampala route via Kabale-Mbarara road, it 8 hours’ drive from Kampala to Kabale and t76 kilometers to Kisoro town, ntebeko the main gate is 14 kilometers from Kisoro. By air mgahinga, the national park can be reached using chartered air crafts from Entebbe international airport to Kisoro airfield.
While mgahinga national park accommodation can be got at DaVinci gorilla lodge, la paillote gorilla place, travelers rest hotel, Amahoro gust house, east African amazon guest house, amakoro songa lodge.
Other activities to do in mgahinga national park apart from gorilla trekking include golden monkey trekking, hiking, nature walks, Batwa trail in Mgahinga among others.